Beach Boys reunion gives me bad vibrations

I love the Beach Boys completely un-ironically.

I dig Brian Wilson’s early “Surfin’” vibe and love when they sailed off the beach to find their Pet Sounds and eventually Smiled 37 years too late.

I once won a karaoke contest singing “Surfin’ Safari.”

The Boys are in some sort of tantric doo-wop battle with The Doors for the meaningless title of Greatest American Rock Band in My Head (unless the Beastie Boys keep putting out albums (another good future topic)).

The Beach Boys may also be America’s most misunderstood rock band – from the 1983 4th of July event when the band was banned from playing at the White House because of the “hooliganism” they might attract, to all the saccharine songs about holding hands with your best girl Barbara Ann that your parents recall – the bulk of the band’s catalog lies somewhere in-between.

But the Beach Boys do not exist anymore.

And having just watched a video of their performance at the Grammy’s, it looks like this band does not exist in any of their minds either. Remaining members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and whoever they’re dragging around with them (uncle Jessie!?) sound unenthusiastic and out-of-sync. The notoriously poor tourer Wilson looked even more depressed than usual to be performing live.

I’m not one to say that a band shouldn’t keep touring and making music for monumental lengths of time as long as the stuff is relevant (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and/or they can at least function on a stage (Rolling Stones).

But this half-hearted reunion/ Smile re-re-release/ free surfing lesson does not excite me when it absolutely should (were it genuine).

Mike Love and Al Jardine have toured as “The Beach Boys” for years, without necessarily copping to the fact that the guy who started it all, wrote most of the music and said they weren’t good enough to perform it – Brian Wilson – was also touring separately, performing new music that should more aptly be granted that label.

We’ve seen Roger Waters and David Gilmour’s Pink Floyd caught in this same passive-aggressive battle for years. Yet if they were to jam, I would be down (I’ve heard Waters’ show is still incredible).

But Dennis Wilson was the only Beach Boy who surfed

And this time the falsetto will ring false.

Above: The old “Surfin’ Safari” days

Below: A link to the Beach Boys’ original music video for Pet Sounds’ “Wouldn’t it be Nice” — one of our greatest American songs.–cqAI3IUI 


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  • When watching those old Beach Boys videos, I love the thought that Dennis Wilson played no instruments prior to the formation of the group. He just picked up the drums and pounded away, giving those old rock jams a raw, jangly quality. So rad.

  • Of course, with my big mouth, you know I have to comment. It truly was a SAD state of affairs, and made my wife and I both wonder why they even agreed to this? Do you think they got paid? Seriously? Why did they say "Yes, we will perform," if they knew it would be like this? Was it better in rehearsals? Is Wilson still really that depressed that he can't even smile; or sing?

    And knowing this performance was going to be watched by a big crowd, why were they not getting the most expensive singing lessons on the planet? Like Seth Rogan "Singing With the Stars" type lessons? WTF!? It was hard to stomach, knowing what a great band they were. I mean why does every band have to reunite? Some things are better left alone.

    I wasn't even sure I liked "The Boss's" performance?

    On another note, though the guy from Foster the People looked nervous, I thought he and Adam Levine sounded great. They hit the notes, falsetto and all, and they didn't try to reinvent the sound. Sir Paul was ok, Nicki Minaj blew, and Adele was stunning. Chris Brown shouldn't be allowed on the show anymore, and I'm way over Taylor Swift...

    I could go on...but why? I'm just glad you let me get some thoughts out. And for that...we thank you!

  • In reply to radstarr:

    Haha.. S'what the jam room is for!

    I'm still befuddled as to why this reunion his happening. Wilson did look depressed and that's troublesome, as i'd thought he recovered well enough to begin putting together albums and touring again (without the rest of the BBoys, of course). Maybe Mike Love is just as annoying as he seems to be.

    I do dig that Foster guy. Great music, eh? And Adele... what can she do next?! What a year.

  • The guy from Foster the people (whats his name?) and Adam Levine did look nervous and I could barely tell what or why they were up there. They shoulda done alot more with that. It looks as if they just threw it together at the last second. Adam even looked worried as if he was paranoid about stepping over Brian Wilson's old OCD ways about his music. When I heard on the radio that they performed I was extremely excited but once I saw the performance it was a huge let down.

  • In reply to lila8517:

    I think the Foster the People guy's name is actually Mark Foster (not positive on the first name, def sure on the last).

    God.. Poor Brian's OCD must have been flipping with all those off-key notes from the other BBoys.

  • I agree their performance at the Grammys was lacking to say the least, but I saw them at the Beacon Theater in NYC tonight and they were awesome!

  • In reply to FunintheSun:

    The talent those guys have, I'm sure on some nights they can pull something from deep down and put on a good show. Glad you got to see one.

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    The new Album comes out in a month and i think it will do so much better than their last effort, Summer in Paradise.They are on tour at the moment in the USA and tickets are cheap at .. They sound really really good for a band where all the members are around 70 years old.

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